Looking for the best handgun scope can be challenging if you’re unaware of the things to check for. What qualities should you look for when comparing your options? What’s the magnification for handgun scopes you need?

It can be hard to figure out the answers without a clear idea of how to pick among the selection out there. For this reason, we’ve come up with this buying guide to refer to when finding your ideal scope.

Let’s start by comparing your choices with the following products that prove to be the best in the category for their superb features and heavy-duty performance.

BestScope for Pistol Reviews of 2021

Best Overall
Our Score 9.3 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.8 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.5 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.1 Out of 10
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Our Score 7.6 Out of 10
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Our Score 7.2 Out of 10
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Our Score 6.9 Out of 10
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Our Score 6.4 Out of 10
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Our Score 5.9 Out of 10
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Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

Our Score 9.3 out of 10
Leupold FX-II Handgun Scope
Leupold FX-II Handgun Scope amazon.com Check price

With this scope, fast focus is guaranteed. The FX-II have Leupold’s classic/standard lockable eyepiece. Complete with a low-profile lock ring, this scope enables the reticle to easily achieve and maintain focus.

Providing much precise targeting with its 4x magnification, the FX-II .44 Magnum scope also has a duplex reticle, which thins out in the center. The duplex reticle is the most popular reticle and certainly aids in quick target acquisition, which also stands out even in low light. Its lenses are also scratch-resistant.

Another great feature of the scope for 357 magnum revolver is its Twilight Light Management System. This system can provide you with 20 extra minutes of shooting light. It balances light transmission and reduces glare and contrast. It releases premium brightness for a clearer image under any lighting condition.

For rugged durability, Leupold’s FX-II is made with propriety nitrogen sealing process. This propriety seal is reliable, proven and tested to withstand massive recoil.

It was tested and verified for fewer than 5,000 impacts on a recoil simulation machine. The FX II is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, and can also perform from -40F to 160F.

On the downside, the fixed magnification may be a little difficult for shooters on the field when they need frequent adjustments.

Pros
  • Duplex reticle
  • Twilight Max Light Management System
  • Long eye relief
  • Classic/standard lockable eyepiece
  • Rugged and absolutely waterproof
Cons
  • Fixed magnification difficult for frequent adjustments

Overall, this product seals the deal if you are looking for a quality handgun scope. It is a low-priced product but with rugged durability and clear optics that ensures a great performance.

Nikon Force XR 2x20mm Pistol Scope

Our Score 9.1 out of 10
Nikon 8470 Force XR 2x20mm Pistol Scope, Nikoplex reticle, Matte
Nikon 8470 Force XR 2x20mm Pistol Scope, Nikoplex reticle, Matte amazon.com Check price

Long Eye Relief
Will hold up to the strongest recoil (field tested against the SandW 500)
Ultra Clear Coat Optical System providing up to 95-Percent light transmission
Waterproof, Fogproof and Shoc...

This product is a rugged scope by Nikon with great durability. Built with recoil-proof construction, this scope is perfect for any of your outdoor pursuits.

The Nikon 8470 Force handgun and .22 pistol sighting provides you with a clear field of view with a quick-focus eyepiece. It has a NikoPlex Reticle that helps in directing your eye to the finer crosshairs in the center for fast target acquisition.

It is also equipped with Ultra ClearCoat optical system. This system achieves the ideal balance of light and resolution. Nikon 8470 Force vouches for up to 95% light transmission providing you with an even clearer view.

This handgun scope also provides you with an extended eye relief of 9.7 to 22.4 inches. You can focus on a target without bringing the scope really close to your eyes.

The field of view of the Nikon 8470 long range pistol scope is provided at 100 yards. Vision may not be as clear for farther distances.

Pros
  • Ultra ClearCoat optical system providing for up to 95 percent light transmission
  • Nikoplex reticle
  • Quick-focus eyepiece for easy acquisition of a target
  • Recoil-proof construction
  • Long eye relief
Cons
  • Limited 100 yards field of view

Overall, this product is perfect for dedicated shooters. The scope is perfectly designed for any of your outdoor hunting pursuits. It is made of quality recoil-proof construction, with great optics for a clear image. It’s also easy to use, with its quick-focus eyepiece and generous eye relief. You can never go wrong with the Nikon 8470 Force XR handgun and rimfire pistols scope.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire Scope

Our Score 8.8 out of 10
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle amazon.com Check price

The 2-7x32 Crossfire II Rimfire riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Plex reticle is a popular all-purpose hunting reticle intended for a variety of hunting appl...

A notable feature of the Crossfire II is its fast-focus eyepiece. This provides you with an easy focus and aids precise shooting at targets, especially when you are on the hunt. Also complete with a forgiving eye box and long eye relief, this product avoids straining your eyes.

This scope has a V-Plex MOA Reticle, which is a popular multi-purpose reticle. This product is suitable for a wide variety of hunting work. It has a Second Focal Plane reticle adding more to the clearer optics. It does not visually change the size of the object as you change the magnification and will continue the same and clear appearance.

In addition, the Crossfire II has resettable MOA turrets, which can be adjusted by fingers and easily reset to zero after sighting. For its ensured durability, the Crossfire II is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. This makes the product shockproof and ensures the toughness of the scope. With a nitrogen purge and also O-ring seal, this product is fog-proof and waterproof, making it more durable.

On the downside, it is a little difficult to adjust the parallax precisely. It requires more focus on adjusting.

Pros
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Vplex, Multi-purpose reticle
  • Multi-coated lens
  • Long eye relief
  • Easily adjustable MOA turrets
Cons
  • Limited adjustments

The Crossfire II is a very good choice of durable pistol scope complete with awesome features for a lower price.

Bushnell Trophy 2-6x32mm Handgun Scope

Our Score 8.6 out of 10
Bushnell Trophy Handgun Scope with Multi-X Reticle
Bushnell Trophy Handgun Scope with Multi-X Reticle amazon.com Check price

Fully multi-coated optics and rain guard HD offer 91% light transmission in any weather
100% waterproof, Fog proof and shockproof 1 inch one-piece tube construction with integrated saddle
2-6X magn...

It has a fully multi-coated optics and rain guard HD lens coating. This feature offers shooters with a 91% light transmission, providing clarity in any weather conditions. The Bushnell Trophy handgun scope has a fast-focus eyepiece and a ¼ MOA fingertip windage, parallax, and elevation adjustments. This makes dialing much easier.

Its variable magnification is 2x to 7x with a Multi-X reticle. This product is intended to work for a variety of hunting applications. It delivers performance for more precise aiming and targeting. In addition to that, it also offers a 20-inch eye relief that is desirable for extended mounting capability. This scope for pistol enables the shooter to easily focus and aim at a target for an extended time without straining the eyes. The Bushnell Trophy handgun scope can be used for a long time with its reliable durability. It is 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof.

It does not come with dust covers.

Pros
  • Fully multi-coated optics and rain guard HD lens coating
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Ensured durability
  • 20-inch eye relief
Cons
  • Does not come with dust covers

The Bushnell Trophy Handgun Scope stays true to its performance, good build, and clear optics. If you are looking for an affordable handgun scope that excels, this product is perfect for you.

Burris Handgun 2-7x32mm Pistol Scope

Our Score 8.3 out of 10

The Burris Optics scope for handguns has a 32 mm clear objective lens and high-grade optical glass. Providing you with ease in mounting, its lens is also made to ensure clear optics and images. This pistol scope is totally lightweight and compact, making it easy to have around.

This model of Burris Optics pistol scope is equipped with high-quality ballistic plex reticle. This reticle is the simplest but very effective. It compensates for bullet drop and provides for more precise aiming. This ballistic plex reticle will aid you for more accuracy with every single shot you make.

Together with its 2x to 7x magnification property, this pistol scope also provides you with eye relief to easily aim and focus your sight on your target. Also, it offers quick target acquisition, which is perfect for your outdoor pursuits.

The Burris Optics Handgun Ballistic Plex Reticle Pistol Scope not only has great features, but it also has guaranteed and solid durability. This handgun scope is proven to hold up zero perfectly. In addition, it can withstand recoil and is reliable until up to that of a .50 BMG.

There might be issues in adjusting its fixed-power scope, which may affect performance, especially for moving targets. It also needs frequent readjustments.

Pros
  • Equipped with 32 mm clear objective lens and high-grade optical glass
  • Quick target acquisition
  • High-quality ballistic plex reticle, simple yet effective
  • Solid construction
  • Long eye relief
Cons
  • Limited adjustments affecting performance

The Burris Optics Ballistic Plex Reticle Pistol Scope is one of great quality, clear images, and solid construction. It is guaranteed to satisfy a shooter’s needs.

Hammers 2-7×32 Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope

Our Score 7.8 out of 10
Hammers Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope 2-7X32 with Weaver Rings
Hammers Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope 2-7X32 with Weaver Rings amazon.com Check price

Zoom power from 2x-7x
Long eye relief for use in pistol or revolver target shooting or forward mounting on scout rifles
Fine line 4plex reticle
1inch main tube
Weaver mounting rings included

To start off, the Hammers pistol scout scope has a long eye relief of 13 to 17 inches. This is ideal for mounting on scout rifle and is very useful for pistol target shooting aiding your sight’s focus targeting.

This scope also provides clarity and good measures. It has a quick-focus eyepiece for easy target acquisition. Moreover, this model of Hammers pistol scope has premium quality optics. It provides the shooter with a clear and sharp view.

The scope is also complete with a fine lone 4plex reticle that is sure to give you more accuracy in every shot. It has a field view provided at 100 yards and a continuous zoom power from 2x to 7x.

Additionally, this pistol scope is very easy to use. It has windage and elevation click value of ¼” at 100 yards. The windage and elevation screws are easily adjusted using the fingers. To top its good quality, the package also includes bungee-corded and see-thru lens caps with a pair of scope rings.

The 100 yards field of view of this pistol scope may affect its performance in greater distances. The image reflected is not as clear in farther distances.

Pros
  • Premium quality optics
  • Long eye relief
  • Fine Line 4plex reticle
  • 2x to 7x magnification
  • Easily adjustable windage and elevation screws
Cons
  • 100 yards field of view may affect performance at a greater distance

The Hammers Pistol Scout Scope has great value with premium quality optics and solid construction. It is one of the best target pistol scopes to find on the market now.

NcStar 2-7×32 Pistol Scope

Our Score 7.4 out of 10
NcStar 2-7X32 Pistol Scope/Blue Lens/Ring (SPB2732B) Black
NcStar 2-7X32 Pistol Scope/Blue Lens/Ring (SPB2732B) Black amazon.com Check price

Long eye relief for extended mounting capability
Multi coated lenses
Fixed power magnification
Non-illuminated reticle
Includes one inch Aluminum Weaver style rings and lens caps
Long eye relief fo...

This model of NcStar pistol scope has multi-coated lenses and with a 32mm objective diameter, which is very good quality. It will provide you with a clearer image without distortion. Additionally, it will help you easily aim and shoot at targets.

For its variable-power magnification, this pistol scope has 2x to 7x magnification. Its reticle is perfectly clear, and it will certainly aid you for more precise targeting and shooting.

This pistol scope also has a long eye relief and is generous to your eyes. It is useful and perfect for maintaining focus at your target and works perfectly for an extended mounting capability. Together with its amazing features, this pistol scope includes in its package 1-inch aluminum weaver style rings and lens caps.

Like most handgun scopes for hunting, the NCstar 2-7X32 pistol scope also has its limitations. This pistol scope has limited left/right adjustments. It may take some work to adjust your scope.

Pros
  • Multi-coated lens for a clearer image
  • 2x to 7x variable power magnification
  • Long eye relief helps in extending mounting capability
  • Includes 1-inch aluminum weaver style rings and lens caps
Cons
  • Left/right adjustments is limited

Considering all the great features that come with this product, it is a good choice for our shooters who are looking for a pistol scope. It is of good quality at a very affordable price.

Weaver Classic 2.5-8×28 Handgun Scope

Our Score 6.8 out of 10
WEAVER Classic Matte Black Handgun Scope (2.5-8 x 28 with Dual-X Reticle)
WEAVER Classic Matte Black Handgun Scope (2.5-8 x 28 with Dual-X Reticle) amazon.com Check price

Made of the highest quality materials
Hunting scopes pistols
Another quality Bushnell product
Fully multi-coated lenses for optimum edge-to-edge clarity
Nitrogen purged tubes to eliminate internal ...

This Weaver handgun scope guarantees clarity and clear definition. It is made with excellent, high-end, fully multi-coated lenses that provide for an optimum, brighter, and clearer image. This will aid shooters to hit their target easier. It is also built with nitrogen-purged tubes, which eliminate internal fogging for the shooter’s clearer view.

Adding to its clear optics is the ¼ inch of MOA adjustment range complete with a Dual-X reticle. With a parallax distance set at 50 yards, these features make the compact pistol scope reliable in aiming and shooting at a target.

This model of Weaver handgun scope has a generous eye relief of 16 to 24 inches. The model is perfect for aiming and maintaining your focus on a target without the worry of straining your eyes too much.

Durability is ensured for this product. This handgun scope is made of only the highest quality materials. It has a one-piece construction that is waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof.

The material of this handgun scope was tested and proven to be able to withstand the most powerful handgun calibers. It is a handgun scope of perfect value.

There were reports on low clarity in low lighting conditions.

Pros
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • ¼ inch MOA
  • Dual-X reticle
  • High-quality materials – waterproof and shockproof
  • Nitrogen-purge tubes which eliminate internal fogging
Cons
  • Lower clarity in low light

The Weaver Classic Matte Black Handgun Scope is a scope of great value with durable material and clear optics at an affordable price.

BSA 2-7×32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

Our Score 6.5 out of 10
BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series Pistol Scope
BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series Pistol Scope amazon.com Check price

Adjustable power pistol scope
1" tube.
Long eye relief.
Solid one piece tube.
2-7variable power

Perfect for target shooting or hunting, The BSA 2-7X2 Edge Series Pistol Scope features a generously long eye relief of 12 inches to 20 inches. You can easily maintain track of a target without the need to worry much about straining your eyes.

Aiding the precision and accuracy of the .460 S&W Magnum scope, the BSA 2-7X2 Edge Series Pistol Scope have a 1-inch tube with an objective lens of very clear optics. The diameter of the objective lens is at 31 to 40 mm.

With good quality for the product’s price, this scope has a parallax distance fixed at 50 yards. Shooting beyond that range would present no problem at all for the accuracy of the shooter. Moreover, this pistol scope has a 2x to 7x variable power for the shooter’s convenience.

The BSA 2-7X2 Edge Series Pistol Scope is not that flexible and has limited adjustment.

Pros
  • Clear optics and objective lens
  • 12 to 20 inches of generous eye relief
  • 2x to 7x variable power
  • Solid one-piece tube
  • Quality power pistol scope for an affordable price
Cons
  • Limited adjustments on the pistol scope

Overall, the BSA 2-7X2 Edge Series Pistol Scope is a very reliable product. This product is sure to do the job and is perfect for devoted shooters.

What is a Handgun Scope?

A pistol is a type of handgun that originated in the 16th century. It has a short barrel and is typically used for firing at stationary targets. Like all guns, pistols also come with iron sights that provide decent sight.

However, equipping a scope to your pistol is ideal, especially when you want to hunt long range. A pistol scope is basically an optical device mounted on your pistol to zoom in on your targets. This improves the hunter’s overall shooting performance.

A pistol scope affords ample magnification that allows you to locate and sight your target quickly. Moreover, using a scope makes you aware of your shooting mistakes. With this, you can easily identify and correct those errors.

Aside from that, using a pistol scope can increase accuracy and precision in aiming and shooting, especially in longer ranges.

While using pistol scopes have a number of benefits, you should still choose one that can best suit your gun and hunting style.

Handgun Scope vs Rifle Scope

The main difference between a pistol and rifle scope is the length of eye relief. Pistols have generally stronger recoils compared to rifles. Thus, they needed longer and more generous eye reliefs to sight better and avoid incidents.

Typically, a rifle scope has an eye relief of 3 inches, depending on the model. On the other hand, a pistol scope’s eye relief should be more or less similar to the arm’s length grip on the pistol. Anything shorter than this would affect the field of view and increase the chances of accidents.

Aside from that, the differences in recoil strengths also translate into scope differences. Pistol scopes are designed differently to handle the recoil of the pistol and are more durable than riflescopes.

Another difference is the size and weight. Generally, rifle scopes are heavier and bulkier. Having all that weight on a pistol is unnecessary. It will only affect stability and performance.

Magnification is also another difference. Low-powered optics are better for pistols since they rarely shoot long distances, whereas rifles are generally used for long-distance shooting. Putting powerful scopes on pistols would be a waste and would result in a narrower field of view.

Lastly, the diameter of the objective lens is also a difference. Pistol scopes have lower magnification settings, which means their objective lens is also smaller.

What Magnification Do You Need

Magnification settings depend on the user’s preference and shooting style. Regardless of the setting that you prefer, the scope can still greatly improve a hunter’s overall hunting and shooting techniques. However, there are numerous scopes in the market, each boasting different specifications and features. In this guide, we listed the different magnification settings to help you decide on what to get.

Fixed vs Variable

There are two types of magnification: fixed or variable. Fixed scopes, like its name, have a fixed magnification. In the market, fixed scopes come in 2x, 4x, or 6x magnifications. They are also more durable and rugged compared to other models due to fewer moving parts.

Because of their fixed magnification, they are generally more suited to close-range shots and hunting. They provide a wide field of view and thus, result in faster target acquisition and shooting. The downside with these scopes is that they can’t be adjusted.

Meanwhile, a scope with variable magnification, like its name, lets you adjust your settings in accordance with your situation. Some scopes offer medium magnification while others have magnifications more than 9x.

As it lets you adjust, they are more suitable for long-range hunting since they can zoom and provide clear resolutions. However, on the downside, they are heavier, bulkier, and more complex.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Scope for Pistol

Pistol scopes have surged in popularity due to the renewed sales and interest on pistols and handguns. Especially now, modern technology has definitely improved these guns.However, with the abundance of scopes in the market, how can you possibly find the best pistol scope for the money?

Of course, reading product reviews and comparisons are important, but it can get pretty overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In this guide, we’ve highlight factors that you need to consider so you’ll find the best handgun scope for the money.

Eye Relief

The first thing you need to consider is the eye relief. Pistols have strong recoils, which means you need a long eye relief to avoid any accidents while still being able to shoot accurately. You should look for a scope with at least a 9-inch eye relief. Anything lower than that is short, and it will affect your shooting performance. However, different companies have different eye reliefs. So, you first need to measure your eye relief and then find a scope that offers that range.

Mount Type

Mounts are used to fit and secure a scope on your gun. However, the type and of your mount can also affect your performance. Ill-fitting and weak mounts can affect its balance and how you zero in your scope. Make sure you use high-quality and durable mounting rings. You need to check whether the rings can securely bite the scope rail, and that it fits tightly into the groves. You also need to make sure that the rings fit the gun and scope properly, and that you can secure everything into place with ease.

Magnification

Magnification settings also need to be considered. There are two options in a scope: fixed or variable. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The fixed-power scopes have fixed magnifications and are easier to use. They are also cheaper and lighter due to fewer moving parts. In addition, they tend to be more durable and rugged compared to variable scopes. Fixed scopes usually come with 2x, 4x, and 6x magnification. The disadvantage is that they can’t be adjusted to suit your situation.

Scopes with variable magnification allow you to adjust your settings in accordance with your hunting condition. This zooming feature is perfect for long-range hunting since it offers clear pictures. Some scopes have medium magnifications, while others have high powers. The downside to variable magnification scopes is that they tend to be heavier and more expensive.

Durable

A good pistol scope should also be durable. Generally, pistols and handguns have stronger recoils compared to other guns. Therefore, your scope should be able to withstand the recurring recoil and shock of the gun. Otherwise, the shock will affect the scope’s zero and your accuracy.

You need to make sure that the scope is made of quality materials. To help, read reviews about whether the scope can survive a particular model and caliber. This is especially important if you have a stronger handgun that deals a stronger recoil and stress on the scope.

How to Mount a Scope on Pistol

Before you can use your scope, you need to mount it. First, take your mounting rings and secure them over the mount. Then, tighten the screws underneath them to make sure they stay in place.

Secondly, put your scope into the rings and adjust accordingly to position.

Thirdly, place the top ring caps over the scope. Using the screws, connect the ring caps to the bottom rings. Make sure you secure and tighten each screw in place to avoid future mishaps. One thing I like to do is screw each side with four turns to make sure they’re all in place. This ensures that both rings tighten similarly and in the same direction. Gunsmiths usually recommend a locking compound to ensure a firmer hold.

Fourthly, ensure that both rings are snug and tight against the recoil lug. If they are, tighten them until you feel the screws hitting the bottom. Then, rotate the scope to its place. Check to see if you’ve done it right by shaking your gun. If done correctly, the scope should stay in place. With this, you can zero the scope knowing that it’s accurate.

Lastly, you need to level your scope. Leveling is extremely important. One wrong move can affect the scope’s balance.

Make sure you rotate the scope, especially when it has precision dial knobs for sighting. After securing the scope in place, turn the screws and anchor both the mount and scope to their final position. To make sure you’re not overturning, listen for the click as you turn. Once you hear it, you can stop. You can also use a button level in this step. This is to ensure everything is in place as you tighten everything down.

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Conclusion

The best handgun scope is what you need to achieve your purpose in shooting or hunting. With the superb qualities and features they come with, they can last long and perform excellently. These handgun scopes also come with top-quality lenses that enable them to deliver crisp and clear images. Use this review and buying guide to get started with your purchase.